United States Marine Corps Fallen HeroU.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Lane 25, husband of Valerie Lane
Son of Kathleen Hanley and former Castle Shannon Police Chief
dies in combat in Afghanistan July 23, 2009.
March 9th The Department of the Navy awards Sergeant Ryan Lane Medal of Commendation with V for Valor. Click Image for larger view
Sgt. Lane arrived in Afghanistan the summer of 2009 after serving at least one other
tour in the country when he was meritoriously promoted to Corporal then Sgt. Sgt. Lane was a weapons instructor, in charge of a team in Light Armored Reconnaissance, at Paris Island before he went to Camp Lejeune.
His unit had lost several Marines, said Shirley McMonagle, police secretary for Castle Shannon and a close friend of the Lane family.
"He's my hero," Mrs. McMonagle said of Sgt. Lane. "He always wanted to be a Marine. He just wanted to serve his country."
Sgt. Lane, the youngest of four brothers and a graduate of Keystone Oaks High School, was an avid Penguin's fan. He was outgoing and friendly, Mrs. McMonagle said.
"He was a sweetheart," said Sarah Coffey, Mrs. McMonagle's granddaughter.
Sgt. Lane joined the Marines in 2002. Three years later, he saw heavy combat in Afghanistan's Khost province, according to a military report posted on the Castle Shannon Web site at the time.
He was reluctant to talk about his experiences there, Mrs. McMonagle said.
Sgt. Lane married his wife, Valerie, about five years ago. They lived at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
This year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates observed Sgt. Lane's Marine unit, Delta Company, 2nd Light Armored Recon Battalion, as it prepared to go overseas.
"I am honored he took time out of his day to watch us do this," Sgt. Lane told an Associated Press reporter. "We train like we fight -- 24/7."
Sgt. Lane's father served as Castle Shannon's police chief for 17 years, retiring in June to become an investigator for the Allegheny County district attorney's office.
"It's a terrible blow," Castle Shannon Mayor Donald Baumgarten said yesterday. "Our hearts go out to the family."
Family and Friends of 2D LAR Battalion.
Major Rodriguez, my executive officer, has sent me a copy of the message published informing you of the death of Sgt Ryan Lane. In Afghanistan, we continue to mourn his loss. I would like to add to the XOs message and take a moment to tell you briefly about Sgt Lane. He was probably one of the top scout leaders I have seen in twenty years of service. His knowledge was unrivaled in basic infantry and scouting. You should have heard an operation order given by Sgt Lane; it was like listening to a textbook. LtCol Chris Naler, the CO of 5/10, went on a patrol with Sgt Lane two days before the attack, afterward, his comment to me was simply, “I wish I had officers that could give an order like that”. As a NCO, he was a leader and mentor. He continually taught Marines the things they needed to know to function in a combat. Due to his previous assignments, Sgt Lane had instructed nearly every scout in Companies C and D at one time or another. I have no doubt that 2D LAR Marines are alive today because of what Sgt Lane taught them. It is with great sadness that we offer our condolences to his wife and parents.
In the MEB, we do not count enemy killed during operations. It is incidental to our mission, which focuses on the people, specifically their security, governance, and essential services (e.g. water, roads, trash). However, I will tell you that the indirect fire team that killed Sgt Lane in a mortar barrage is no more. This does not lessen our loss, but it does provide the Marines some sense of justice for their comrade.
Operations continue here at a fast pace. Company D remains busy. They are active engaging the people of the area. The people have been receptive, and they have responded by informing on the insurgents.
Company C continues to maneuver about the battlespace. They show up when and where the enemy does not expect them. They will continue to maneuver, to support Company D, and to interdict enemy forces to deny him freedom of movement.
I wish you all well. I will write again to let you know how we are progressing. Lastly, our thoughts are always on our fallen Marines, we wish their families peace as they deal with the loss of their loved one. They have sacrificed so much.